Malaysians amongst Asia’s top young architects and interior designers

Malaysian students Wong Kail Li and Lim Yong An, Gold Winners for Nippon Paint Young Designer Award (NPYDA) 2014, recently participated in NPYDA’s Japan Learning Program, in which they were competing with Gold Winners from 7 other countries namely Singapore, the Philippines, Thailand, Indonesia, China, Japan and Hong Kong.

The NPYDA 2014 Japan Learning Program was held in Osaka, as Japan is the birthplace of Nippon Paint more than 130 years ago in 1881. The grand finale saw 14 Gold Award Winners from the participating countries in Asia Pacific, vying for the ultimate young designer award.

Ryunosuke Akuta from Japan emerged as the overall winner, with his creation entitled, “Sacrifice”. His architectural design was based on the theme of ‘infinite life’, where the dwellers are able to live within a community to the end of time. Uniquely designed, the land in which the home sits on emerges as a beautiful island at high tide.

“His design was clearly well-thought, involving how a community would interact socially as well as at a deeper emotional level. Coincidentally, the next NPYDA theme would incorporate the “emotional” part of design, so clearly, Akuta-san is headed in the right direction in terms of today’s architectural and design priorities. Every year, I can see that the standards is constantly raised and I truly commend the students for their submissions which are on par with design professionals as well,” said Ar Sarly of Sarly Adre Sarkum Architecture Sdn Bhd, one of the judges at the NPYDA 2014 grand finale.

“Sacrifice” was selected upon a rigorous selection process by a judging panel consisting of industry experts such as  President of the Malaysia Green Building Confederation and Founder of Sarly Adre Sarkum Architecture Sdn. Bhd., Malaysia Ar. Sarly Adre bin Sarkum,  Co-founder and Director of Sustainable Design at GreenDwell, Thailand Siritip Harntaweewongsa,  Assistant Professor at the School of Design, Hong Kong Polytechnic University and Vice Chairman of Hong Kong Interior Design Association, Hong Kong  Horace Pan,  Founder of Tomohiro Hata Architect and Associates, Japan Ar.Tomohiro Hata and  Founder of GINGRICH Architect, Japan Ar. Kazuma Yamao.

At the NPYDA 2014 Japan Learning Program, Group CEO of Nippon Paint South East Asia, Wee Siew Kim said, “Nippon Paint is committed to shaping the future of today’s youth in the design industry. I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate our young talents who have performed and excel amazingly in this competition. The NPYDA platform was designed for them in mind involving a series of workshops, knowledge exchange session and mentorship programmes with industry experts from all over the world. I am proud to see how it has grown in strength, since its humble beginning seven years ago. Indeed, this Japan Learning Program provides an invaluable experience for young designers in Asia to network with experienced industry professionals whilst showcasing their creative ideas to the international audience.”

As a leading total coatings provider in Asia, Nippon Paint takes on the leadership role to facilitate the growth of the design industry and provide a platform for young students to integrate colours into their designs. Themed ‘Re:Think Re:Create Our Community, Our Home’, the NPYDA 2014 featured winners who presented their ideas and creative designs in two categories – Architecture and Interior Design. The entries were judged based on colour concept, green and sustainable design, design concept statement and design innovation.

Wong Kail Li from Universiti Putra Malaysia represented Malaysia, as she recently took home the Gold Award in the Architecture Category with her design titled “Bond the Vicinity–Hydrophilic Retirement Retreat” which encouraged the elderly to interact amongst themselves and with the public, within a green and sustainable environment. Wong said, “I am thankful for being part of this Japan Learning Program. I learnt a lot from fellow students from different countries in Asia, as well as industry professionals through their sharing sessions. The coaching sessions by Mr. Tomohiro Hata and Mr. Kazuma Yamao before the grand finale was truly an eye-opener, not just for this competition but for my future career as well. Their invaluable input has inspired me to continuously develop designs that are unique, and adds value to the community and environment surrounding us.”

Alongside Wong, Malaysia was also represented by Lim Yong An from KBU International College, the Gold Award winner for the Interior Design Category. His LEAF (Lifestyle, Easy, Advanced, Fun) Agricultural Nursery, offers a unique, sustainable F&B environment where people can enjoy fresh produce that were harvested using organic waste as compost.

The 3-day Japan Learning Program was also graced by notable industry professionals around the region including Ms. Monika Fecht (Board member of CMG Asia Pacific Group) from Colour Marketing Group whose presentation on “Colours in Motion” touched on how colours that were nature-inspired by the formations of fishes in the deep sea, birds’ flying formations in the sky as well as lava eruptions from volcanos. Mr. Horace Pan from China and Ms. Siritip Harntaweewongsa from Thailand shared useful insights in relation to green, sustainable buildings and its impact to the community. Horace also shared that Hong Kong consciously focuses on cultural sustainability, historical revitalisation and environmental protection, in coming up with designs that are friendly to the community and its surroundings.

The NPYDA 2014 regional winners and other industry professionals were also brought on a historical tour to visit the Nippon Paint Museum in Osaka to further appreciate the company’s evolution as a Total Coating Solutions provider. The museum featured ancient colour cards and paint cans that were once used, as well as provided elaborations on the evolution of the paint making process.

NPYDA has grown to a prominent scale from only 87 submissions back in 2008 across Malaysia to 2,303 submissions in 2014 across 10 regional countries. For NPYDA 2015, the competition will be extended to 3 other countries namely Bangladesh, Papua New Guinea and Sri Lanka.

For more information on the Nippon Paint Young Designer Award, kindly visit or